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Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism
Edward H. Flannery
Foreword by Philip A. Cunningham

“This revised and updated edition of The Anguish of the Jews – a classic history of antisemitism written by a Roman Catholic priest and now with a foreword by Philip A. Cunningham – is as relevant as when it was first published in 1964. Hailed by Christians and Jews alike as a groundbreaking book that did much to expose the fact of historical antisemitism in the United States and around the world,  this updated  edition includes material covering the last two decades – considering developments in the Middle East and exploring the impact that Judaic studies have had on Christian thought.”   [From the cover]

Note: While we don’t normally critique a book that we are offering, a word of caution is due with respect to the 2004 foreword by Philip Cunningham in this revised and updated edition. In the foreword, Cunningham writes:

“On the subject of perennial Christian efforts to convert Jews, sometimes forcibly as Fr. Flannery describes, a dialogue document issued by delegates of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the National Council of Synagogues in 2002, set forth a theological rationale why the Catholic  Church no longer engages in such practices. After reviewing post-Nostra Aetate teaching, the document explains that the Catholic Church now officially ‘recognizes that the Jews are also called by God to prepare the world for God’s kingdom. Their witness to the kingdom, which  did not originate with the Church’s experience of Christ crucified and raised, must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity.’ “

This statement gives the misleading impression that the Catholic Church does not wish the witness of the Jewish people to “be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity.” There is much that can be said about changed attitudes within the Church regarding the Jewish people. But the Church DOES NOT declare that Jews should not convert. The document that Cunningham references, Reflections on Covenant and Mission, was not a statement by the Bishops, but merely a working document by Catholic and Jewish members of this ecumenical committee. On June 18, 2009 (and revised on Oct. 18, 2009), the U.S. Bishops issued a Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission .

Following the appearance of Reflections on Covenant and Mission on the website of the U.S. Bishops, we included critiques of this document in two subsequent issues of The Hebrew Catholic. They are issue #77, Spring–Fall 2002, which also contains the document Reflections on Covenant and Mission,  and issue #78, Winter–Spring 2003.

In light of the anti-Semitism that Fr. Flannery’s book details, it would be the ultimate anti-Semitism to hide the Jewish Messiah from His own people.

PAU, Soft cover, ©1985, 369 pages